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Goodwood return an option for Facteur Cheval after 'nightmare' Royal Ascot

Facteur Cheval will be readied for a second tilt at the Sussex Stakes following his “nightmare” outing at Royal Ascot.

The five-year-old found only Paddington too strong at Goodwood last year and following further placed efforts in Group One company in the Prix du Moulin and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day, he broke his top-level duck with a surprise victory in the Dubai Turf at Meydan in March.

Facteur Cheval was considered a major contender for the curtain-raising Queen Anne Stakes, but after tracking his pacesetting compatriot Big Rock for much of the way, he was left out on his own when the race began in earnest and passed the post a well-beaten sixth.

“The tactics of following Big Rock (did not work) as at the three-furlong pole he had to make his effort on his own, which was impossible,” said trainer Jerome Reynier.

“He needs someone (another horse) to rely on and he was just on his own. He’s a fighter and when he won the Dubai Turf he came between horses and when Namur came on his outside he kept battling hard.

“He also lost a shoe, I think quite early in the race (at Ascot), so it was just a disaster and a nightmare.

“The plan is to go back to Goodwood because he ran so well there last year. Obviously the ground was very heavy and I think he is better with a bit of cut in the ground.”

On the same afternoon Reynier saddled Group Three winner Darlinghurst in the St James’s Palace Stakes and on first inspection the 40-1 shot had his limitations exposed, finishing last of eight.

However, his trainer is adamant his charge is better than he showed, adding: “He travelled pretty well but Christophe (Soumillon) felt he was a bit anxious and not breathing properly and we think he’s been playing with his tongue.

“He was making a bit of noise after the race and we scoped him and everything was fine, so next time out I think we’ll go for the Prix Daphnis at Deauville on August 4, a Group Three for three-year-olds over a mile, and he’ll probably be wearing a tongue-tie.”

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